Tulsa World Endorses Askins
Editorial/The Tulsa World ~ Much has been made of the fact that Oklahoma on Tuesday will elect its first woman governor.
Voters will bestow that very great honor and responsibility on one of two capable, veteran politicians: Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, 57, Democrat, from Duncan or U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, 55, Republican, of Oklahoma City.
The Tulsa World believes that Jari Askins is the better choice.
While both candidates have extensive political resumes, Askins' is the more impressive because it includes all three branches of government - judicial, legislative and executive. She served as a special district judge and then as deputy counsel in the governor's office. She was appointed to the state Pardon and Parole Board and was named its chairman. She was elected to the Legislature from Stephens County and rose to the post of floor leader for her party. She was elected lieutenant governor and has had an exemplary record in that job.
Askins has the intellect to confront the challenges that face the state in difficult economic times and the ability to articulate a clear vision and path for Oklahoma.
Because of that, her campaign has dealt in specifics.
For example, Askins supports creation of a professional parole board and sensible, appropriate alternatives to incarceration to address the embarrassingly high percentage of Oklahomans who are behind prison walls.
She would work aggressively to expand the demand for Oklahoma's domestic fuels - natural gas, bio-fuels and wind - to increase jobs and improve wages.
Askins favors a state budgeting process in which the Legislature would spend one session crafting a two-year budget - allowing it to more intelligently vet the issues - and then devote the next year's session to non-budget matters.
Fallin, meanwhile, has campaigned mainly on generalities and platitudes: opposing "Obamacare," fighting the liberals in Washington and growing the economy.
Those things make good TV sound bites but they have little to do with governing the state of Oklahoma. Indeed, if fighting the liberals in Washington is her concern, Fallin would be better off to stay in her current job in the U.S. Congress, where that battlefield is.
Askins is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. She is a conservative, family values Democrat - pro-life, pro-business and a strong advocate for women's, children's and seniors' issues. She is an active member of the First Christian Church of Duncan, where she sings in the choir.
Unfortunately for her, this is a bad year for Democrats. Oklahoma has become the reddest of the red states and given the prevailing attitudes nationally and at home, it most likely is about to become even more Republican.
But if voters will just look past the partisan political label they will see that Askins is the better choice to serve as their governor, to be the CEO of the unwieldy $6.7 billion a year operation that is Oklahoma.
Vote for Jari Askins on Tuesday.